So, Christmas is over, the New Year is here, and we’re all itching to get back into the swing of things when it comes to our hobby. Now, if you’re not one of those lucky individuals that lives in an area where the weather’s moderate year round, you may be clawing at the snow drift on your local track or chipping away at the local lake hoping to somehow accelerate the spring thaw. While it’s easy to complain about the weather, there’s actually some maintenance you could be doing to prep yourself for the best RC season ever! Here are a few creative ideas to get you thinking about something OTHER than not being able to run your RC’s…
1. MAINTENANCE! It’s a subject we constantly bring up, but it’s also one that often gets neglected in favor of upgrades or new projects. In reality, there are very few of us that tear our vehicle completely down for inspection unless something breaks. It can be a very rewarding experience to disassemble, clean, inspect, and reassemble your RC. Here are a few helpful tips when taking on such a task.
First, have your vehicle’s manual handy. Most manufacturers, including ATOMIK, will provide their manuals online if you happen to have lost yours. This will make sure you can identify every screw and nut you remove as well as provide you with part numbers should you find something that needs to be replaced.
Keeping a box of zip-lock bags and a marker around will ensure you can keep track of those small parts and where they came from. Many hobbyists will use a muffin tin to keep track of similar sized screws and parts. (Just don’t do what I did and knock that tin off your workbench sending your parts tumbling in a metallic waterfall of sadness.)
Inspect plastics for cracks or signs of wear. Inspect bearings to ensure they are spinning freely and wipe everything down with a damp cloth. Once you’ve assembled your vehicle back to running condition and you’re looking at a practically new truck, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do a complete teardown sooner.
Boat guys! I know you might think this doesn’t apply to you, but it DOES. For your maintenance, check out this blog post on how to keep your marine RC running great.
2. UPGRADES! Bad weather means more bench time, and what better way to spend your bench time (if you’ve already done your maintenance, that is!) than performing some upgrades! Your stock rig is just BEGGING for more performance! What better way than to throw in a new motor or motor/speed control combo? (Dare I say that you should check out OUR awesome motors like this 4 pole 2400KV from our 8th scale SCT.)
Need better handling? Learn the fine art of shock tuning. Changing the oil in your shocks is not only an easy way to alter the performance of your RC; it’s inexpensive too! Shock oil is generally around $5 a bottle, or you can get variety packs for around $20.
The off-season is also a great time to prep new wheels and tires. Sure you can glue rubber to plastic with the best of them, but have you ever balanced your RC wheels/tires? Check out this great video from Squirrel over at thetoyz.com.
Wanting a new look without buying a new RC? Pick up a new body to paint! If you do plan on painting in cold weather, watch your ambient temperature. Too cold and your paint might not apply properly. A little trick to make sure your paint always comes out smooth is to soak your paint cans in warm water before shaking and spraying the heat from the water will warm the paint in the cans allowing for smoother delivery of the paint. There are lots of YouTube tutorials on how to create amazing paint jobs.
SIMULATORS! They’re not just for airplane guys anymore! Keep your RC skills sharp through the cold months by battling on the track with your PC. VirtualRC.com has not only on-road racing, but recently, they just added short course racing to their bag of tricks. By purchasing their USB transponder, you can use your own radio gear to practice laps in the warm comfort of your home office or living room. No turn marshals required!
Hopefully this gets you thinking about RC related fun that can be had without actually powering up your RC. If you have any other suggestions, be sure to give us a comment below! Be safe, ask questions and have FUN! –Jeff Simon